With great sorrow ALDE Party has learnt of the passing of Simone Veil. A survivor of Auschwitz and distinguished member of the Académie Française, Mrs Veil entered politics in 1974 as Minister of Health in the French government under centrist President Valérie Giscard d’Estaing. She will be remembered for the “loi Veil” which decriminalised abortion in France and for her leadership of the European Parliament, following the historic first direct elections in 1979.
Simone Veil was the first elected President of the European Parliament. A member of the Liberal group, she said visionary words in her opening speech “Whatever our political beliefs, we are all aware that this historic step, the election of the European Parliament by universal suffrage, has been taken at a crucial time for the people of the Community. All its Member States are faced with three great challenges: the challenge of peace, the challenge of freedom and the challenge of prosperity, and it seems clear that they can be only met through the European dimension.”
ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen MEP paid tribute to Mrs. Veil: “She was one of the icons in the history of European integration. As a survivor of the Holocaust, she embodied the resilience of European values of human dignity and freedom. She was a tremendous first President of the European Parliament and between 1984 and 1989 led the Liberal group in the European Parliament. At the same time, she was an independent thinker and as such a staunch defender of women’s rights in particular and human rights in general. The passing of Simone Veil is a great loss for France and for Europe. Liberals around Europe will sorely miss her.”
Simone Veil passed at the age of 89.